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ECU partners with N.C. Dept. of Commerce to enhance communities

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Apr. 7, 2009)   —   East Carolina University and the North Carolina Department of Commerce have collaborated on an innovative Community Development Block Grant program designed to strengthen less-prosperous communities in eastern North Carolina.

The “Talent Enhancement Demonstration Grants” program is designed to provide technical assistance and financial resources to increase competitiveness and build stronger, more vibrant and more capable communities.  

Local governments may apply for the grants, which focus on new endeavors a community has not had the resources to undertake, and on increasing the productivity of existing community programs such as housing development and community revitalization. For details, go to:
The grants are available to units of local government in Gates, Northampton, Hertford, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Chowan, Bertie, Edgecombe, Martin, Washington, Tyrrell, Dare, Wilson, Halifax, Pitt, Beaufort, Hyde, Wayne, Lenoir, Craven, Pamlico, Jones, Onslow, Carteret and Greene counties.

ECU’s Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development (OEIED) and the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Development are managing the program.
“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “President Bowles has challenged all campuses to be more actively engaged in community and economic development, and this is a great example of how ECU can do that.”

Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said, “Governor Perdue and I are committed to doing everything possible to assist less prosperous communities, especially in rural areas. Partnering with ECU is a logical extension of our community development programs, and helps us leverage each other’s strengths. We share a mutual goal of stimulating economic transformation in communities across the region.”
Commerce will provide grants of up to $75,000 to selected counties or municipalities for capacity building and related technical assistance in partnership with the OEIED. The total amount of funding for this initiative is $600,000.

Priority for funding will be given to communities that have been designated Tier 1, meaning they are among the state’s least prosperous, and 21st Century Communities, a program that provides to targeted communities assistance with the development of broad-based and comprehensive economic development plans and incentives.
Communities will apply to Commerce for funding and engage with the OEIED for technical assistance that will support activities in the following areas:
  • Grant writing, grant administration training and technical support
  • Feasibility study assistance and preparation
  • Economic impact analyses
  • Entrepreneurial and small business technical assistance
  • Community survey research
  • Community design assistance
For grant guidelines, please contact Charlie Thompson at 919-733-1334 or
ECU’s Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development actively aligns, supports and celebrates ECU faculty, staff and student engagement with industry, government and communities to address pressing regional needs. For more information, call 252-737-1380 or visit
The N.C. Department of Commerce is the state’s lead economic development agency, seeking to improve the wellbeing of all North Carolinians through economic, community and workforce development. For more information, visit


Contact: Dee Dobson Harper | 252-737-1351